In Eindhoven, experts from all over the world are meeting today at a conference to see if doctors should adhere to different values in treating patients from now on.
Not 37 degrees
“We all think a normal body temperature is 37 degrees. Both doctors and Wikipedia say so,” Luke Otterspur, MD, a cardiologist at Katharina Hospital, told EditieNL.
But this idea is based on measurements from 1850. “Times were very different back then. People were walking around with all kinds of ailments: from tuberculosis, autoimmune diseases, bad dentures with abscesses and other infectious diseases. They were not treated at the time. And there was no prohibition.”
The temperature was measured randomly. “So there will be a lot of people with the disease among their organs and therefore the temperature will rise.” As a result, the average temperature has become higher.
A lot has changed since then. “There was better prevention, people got cleaner and antibiotics were introduced. As a result, the temperature started to drop slowly.”
It varies with each moment and the person
Every ten years the average temperature drops by 0.03 degrees. Now it turns out that the temperature is not 37, but 36.4 degrees Celsius. “But it can also vary greatly from person to person, so we don’t know exactly when you actually have a fever.”
Let’s say your average temperature is 36.5 degrees, that could mean you already have a fever at 37.5 degrees. “The number doesn’t tell you everything. So ask yourself: Do I feel bad? Am I tired? Do I have a sore throat?”
Plus, your temperature varies at every moment. “In the morning it is lower than in the evening. In addition, there is a rise in temperature during menstruation.” The temperature also rises on hot days like today. “So I think it’s time to let go of 37 degrees. That theory is outdated.”
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